SPARTA, NJ — Like many municipalities throughout the state that adopted prohibition ordinances, disallowing cannabis businesses to open within their borders, Sparta recently became one of them.
Sparta Township Council’s ordinance prohibiting the operation of cannabis businesses passed, with Sparta taking a stance like many municipalities, holding off until officials learn more from the state about guidance and rules set for business operations.
Sparta’s Mayor Christine Quinn said adopting an ordinance without knowing all of the regulations up front is like “jumping into a pool without water.”
The State of New Jersey has yet to fully unveil the rules for cannabis business operations, which it plans to do in August. However, municipalities statewide were charged with having either an allowance or prohibition ordinance on the books by Aug. 22.
Sparta Township is one of the municipalities in the state that headed in the direction of where the majority of government bodies statewide headed, based on advice received through both New Jersey State League of Municipalities and New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys. Both groups advocated for towns to prohibit this type of business model, until the state lays down the ground rules.
Municipalities that adopt ordinances permitting cannabis businesses, must stay with that decision for five years. Those that prohibit them, on the other hand, can make a decision at any point to allow different classes of cannabis businesses, whether distribution or retail – or even both – into its borders.
However, Sparta’s ordinance clarified residents can have recreational cannabis deliveries made to their homes from companies outside of Sparta.
“I wouldn’t want to drive a car off the lot without a lease or buy a home without an inspection or contract,” Quinn told Patch. “Our best interest as elected officials, was not making a decision, where there are too many unknowns.”